Ali and Ahmed and their thoughts on Scotland and Glasgow School of English


Ali Mohammed Alasiri (above on the left) and Ahmed Alkhathlan (on the right), both from Saudi Arabia, have been studying at Glasgow School of English for several months. As a result, their English is very good and they were happy to meet me recently to tell me about their time in Scotland and at Glasgow School. Ali is from Abha, in the south of the country and Ahmed is from Riyadh, the capital city. Ali is a mechanical engineer and Ahmed an architect with an interest in sustainable engineering and both are studying English to help them in their careers. Ahmed is going to enrol at a course on sustainable engineering at Strathclyde University in Glasgow next year.

Ahmed told me that, in his opinion, the teachers here are very good. Ali agreed, saying that they have a good manner and take time to speak to everyone individually. They both also said that all the admin team were also extremely helpful and friendly.

I asked why they had chosen Scotland to study. Ali’s three older brothers had all been at Glasgow School of English before and that was why he was here, while Ahmed said he had come to Scotland because he wants to study that particular course at Strathclyde University.

Finally, I asked what has surprised them about Scotland. They both said that they enjoy the weather as it’s so much cooler than their own country. In addition, they both agreed that the Scottish people are very warm and friendly. Ali said that people are patient in the shops when they can see that you are just learning English, which is especially helpful for students whose level of English is not as high as his or Ahmed’s. Ahmed explained that he didn’t need to buy a car in Glasgow because the public transport system is really good.

Finally, I asked them if they would recommend Glasgow School of English. I’m pleased to say that they both agreed and would certainly recommend that if you are a Saudi student who is thinking about coming to study English in the UK, come to Scotland – it’s cheaper, better and far more friendly than London!

Did you know that Scots invented the modern way of playing football?

It is well known that England is the home of modern football. When Scotland played in the first international football match, against England, in Glasgow in 1872, both sides did not really pass the ball the way footballers do nowadays. Instead, the players tried to dribble the ball past opponents and then get near enough to the opposition goal to get it over the line. In England, some clubs began to pass the ball, but the greatest exponents of this new style of football were the Scots, who had developed a way of playing that encouraged the team to play the ball to each other rather than individuals trying to dribble with it.



Professional football (where the players are paid for playing, as they are today) had been introduced in England in 1885, but in Scotland many clubs were still amateur (this means they were not paid for playing). The English international team lost heavily a number of times to Scotland between 1878 and 1882 and this was due largely to the clever passing play of the Scots.

As a result, many English professional clubs signed Scots’ players. These Scots were called “Scotch Professors” and their influence led to a change in the way football was played which has continued up to the present day. Also, many of these Scots, and many English players too, introduced football across the then British Empire and beyond, particularly to countries such as Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil.